Coscharis Group President/CEO Dr Cosmas Maduka was a keynote speaker at the Fate Foundation yearly alumni conference held in Lagos. Entrepreneurs, he says, should pursue integrity if they are to attract international patronage. DANIEL ESSIET reports.
HIS upbringing was difficult. By the time he was seven, Cosmas was withdrawn from elementary school to serve as an automobile apprentice to a maternal uncle in Lagos. Today, Maduka is the President/CEO of Coscharis Group.
His uncle took him to work as an apprentice in a spare parts shop. His uncle lived at Ebute-Metta in Lagos and had a store at 88 Griffith Street, near Oyingbo Bus-stop. Maduka was a key note speaker at Fate Foundation Annual Alumni Conference held in Lagos.
Having mastered his craft effectively at the age of nine, he would travel alone to Nnewi to purchase items for his boss and by the age of 14, he was smart enough to be sent to work in one of their branches in Sokoto and, later, at Nnewi! Little Cosmas was actually working without any contractual agreement with his uncle. After seven years apprenticeship, Maduka got N200 from his boss which was very little for him. Not deterred, he jumped into business selling auto car parts.
He said it was hard at first. He faced huge challenges and struggled. He did not complain. He took a different approach that led to tripling his business, all with integrity. He had become proficient at sales and closing deals. His business reached stability within a few years. He is happy today that he overcame, making it big in the motor vehicle parts business, building a multi-billion enterprise.
One strategy he used was to explore the option of trade credit. This led him to partners in Japan who offered him goods on credit.
Having done business for years with Japanese, Maduka found out that businesses were ready to offer him deals. The magic was being honest and keeping to time. This created favour for him among his Japanese partners.
Admonishing entrepreneurs, Maduka stressed that integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching.
cording to him, success will come and go, but integrity is forever.
His advice for entrepreneurs is to put in their own money first, prove the model and then go after an equity deal, pointing out that the biggest thing when hiring is that, it’s important to get over the “I’m the best for the business” attitude.
Maduka urged young people to embrace entrepreneurship, saying it is a key pillar to the country’s economic transformation. However, the successful entrepreneur said financial discipline is critical in business.
The Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, underscored the potential role of entrepreneurship in addressing the challenges facing the nation, saying the organisation is expanding opportunities for entrepreneurship training.
She said under its model, training is accompanied by mentoring and other additional support to be effective. She explained that an intensive series of workshops introduce participants to the fundamentals of operating a small business.
Mrs. Adeyemi said Fate Foundation provides a support network as the participants seek to implement their business plans.
The Chairman, Alumni Conference Planning Committee, Mr. Olusegun Mcmedal, said the conference brought together participants for a discussion of a range of topics, including the challenges facing entrepreneurs.
Participants included representatives of governmental and international development agencies, international nonprofit organisations, and micro-lending institutions.
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